Dáil debates

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

1:00 pm

Photo of Séamus HealySéamus Healy (Tipperary South, Workers and Unemployed Action Group)

I oppose the nomination of Deputy Enda Kenny as Taoiseach. The programme for Government is a deep betrayal of working people, the poor and families on low and middle incomes. We see no serious change in the programme, which is a continuation of the Fianna Fáil-Green Party policies in what is now a more unfavourable environment for the public. The continuation of the universal social charge, the regressive tax changes of the past budgets and austerity measures are set to continue. This takes place against a background of a 7% rise in the price of staple foods over the past eight months, increases in mortgage rates, with more to come, and rocketing fuel prices which will cause further rises in food prices. This will further depress the economy and lead to a further increase in unemployment and emigration.

The commitment in the programme for Government to eliminate 25,000 jobs in the public service is obscene. Any excess posts that exist in the higher echelons, in Ministers' offices or in the offices of general secretaries, must be transferred to necessary services at the front line, where teachers, nurses, clerical and maintenance staff attempt to maintain public services in the face of significant cuts which the programme for Government plans to continue. The Labour Party should hang its head in shame. The programme for Government does not provide to take a red cent in tax from the assets of the super rich. The 6% who own €250 billion of assets will not pay a halfpenny, while ordinary people are being fleeced to pay for a recession they had no hand, act or part in creating.

James Connolly wrote about the reconquest of Ireland. The current leader of the Labour Party has endorsed the humiliation of Ireland under the EU-IMF deal. The excuse he gave on radio was that there is a necessity to repair relations with our European partners. That is a form of national grovelling. The French, German and British banks practised reckless lending to Irish and other banks, causing problems for the Irish, Greek, Portuguese and Spanish. The Labour Party policy is one of grovelling to these powerful banks in the hope we will get a few crumbs from them. James Connolly said: "The great only appear great because we are on our knees. Let us rise." We must rise up and tell the EU and IMF that we will not pay the debts of the Irish banks. We must tell them that the combination of these debts and the imminent mortgage crisis will cause a disastrous default that will make current problems appear minor and leave Ireland in a much weaker position to remedy the situation.

I wish to refer to the organisation and delivery of acute hospital services here.

That is very important for the public, for the patients and their families and for the community in south Tipperary. The 'save our acute hospital services' committee in south Tipperary, of which I am chairman, received election commitments from Fine Gael and the Labour Party confirming that they will retain all existing acute hospital services in South Tipperary General Hospital. I will relentlessly pursue those commitments and I call on the incoming Government and the incoming Minister for Health and Children to immediately instruct the HSE to halt the reconfiguration process.


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